Survey finds New Mexico college students facing food, housing insecurity

May 8, 2023 - Mary Beth King

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University of New Mexico senior Blake Hautzinger had heard the jokes about eating a lot of ramen in college. But they didn’t seem the type who would need to worry: The child of college educated parents who paid for tuition and fees to subsidize a scholarship, whose GPA never dipped below 3.5, and a member of the UNM Honors College. But Hautzinger ended up donating plasma twice weekly to afford groceries and then working 20 to 30 hours a week in a shop, scheduling classes and study around their job.

Hautzinger, a junior majoring in History with a minor in Psychology, was one of three UNM students who told their stories of being hungry or housing insecure to the College Basic Needs in New Mexico Data Sharing Symposium last week on the University campus. Among the attendees were UNM President Garnett Stokes, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Higher Education Deputy Secretary Patricia Trujillo, a representative from Sen. Ben Ray Lujan’s office, and leaders from the 27 colleges and universities across New Mexico that participated in the Basic Needs Survey.

Led by principal investigator Sarita Cargas, an associate professor at the UNM Honors College, the team of faculty and students conducted a year-long study that researched food and housing insecurities at almost every college or university in the state. The statewide survey followed an earlier survey of UNM students only.

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